Efforts in the Plasma Etching Thrust Area are directed at expanding both

the knowledge base and technology base for a broad spectrum of

applications, including semiconductor fabrication. Fundamental

understanding is addressed through modeling, as well as development and

implementation of in situ diagnostics. At the same time, process

development for integrated circuits processing and for novel etching

applications takes place in a variety of low-pressure, high-density etch



Our current effort is now directed at the following critical etch issues:


Semiconductor Processing:

* Fluorocarbon-based SiO2 etching - chemical characterization of gas phase

using infrared spectroscopy, endpoint detection, etch selectivity/ion

energy control at the wafer surface

* Plasma-Induced Damage - surface charging effects in device damage and

feature profile evolution, discharge modulation for reduction of

charging-induced damage, vacuum ultraviolet radiation damage

* Real-time Control of Plasma Etching - efforts includes development of

sensors (e.g., wall deposition monitor), and control strategies

Novel Plasma Etch Applications

* polymer etching, MEMS, structures for biological studies, magnetic materials

Etch Tool Development

* helicon plasma etching, magnetically enhanced inductively coupled

plasmas (ICP), large area substrates, modeling

Advanced Plasma Etch Diagnostics

* Diagnostics currently under development: Langmuir probe theory in

magnetized plasmas, infrared absorption spectroscopy, electro-optical

probe. Many more diagnostics are in frequent use

Recent collaborations with industrial partners:

* process development for polymer etching

* surface charging reduction during plasma etching

* process development for etching of magnetic materials

* chemical characterization of plasmas for fluorocarbon-based etching of SiO2

Collaborations with other laboratories:

SEMATECH, Sandia National Laboratory



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